What You Need to Know
WHAT: Hopeful Holidays
IT’S: The winter holiday display at the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens
OPENED: December 7, 2020
BRAINS BEHIND IT: MGM Resorts International, Conservatory Manager Leslie Baeckeroot and Conservatory Designer Ed Libby
FUN FACT: A similar version of the Conservatory with less square footage but a taller atrium is open to visitors at MGM National Harbor near Washington, D.C.
LOCATION: Bellagio (3600 Las Vegas Boulevard South)
HOURS: Daily | 24 hours
A festive spirit returns to the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens with “Hopeful Holidays,” a new winter exhibit that runs until January 9, 2021. “It’s a celebration of hope, health and happiness,” says Ed Libby, the designer of the Conservatory exhibits, which change five times a year.
Epic Blooms and Bears
Nearly 13,800 flowers were used for a collection of sophisticated arrangements underneath the natural light of a sky-high atrium. The centerpiece is a 42-foot-tall Silver Tip fir tree with 2,500 ornaments, 7,000 LED lights and a dazzling Swarovski crystal star at the very top. It’s one of several pine trees in the exhibit that survived recent wildfires in California. They’re selected three years in advance and manicured specifically for the Bellagio. Five polar bears were crafted from thousands of carnations and hydrangeas in a cross-promotion with Coca-Cola.
Every exhibit at the Conservatory is meant to tell a story. The holiday message of hope is reflected in two bright red cardinals who appear above a pond and small waterfall inside an ornamental egg. A smaller cardinal, which carried over from the autumn display, now rests on the finger of Queen Bellissima, a towering figure who welcomes visitors for the holidays and keeps watch over the floral extravaganza. Four horses and a carriage (decorated with a plush red velvet lining and a twinkling crystal chandelier) symbolize the arrival of the holiday spirit. A collection of elves depict the engineers, electricians and other members of the 75-person team who switch out the seasonal exhibits in just six days.
A Healthy Holiday Season
Bellagio is adapting in the age of COVID-19. Previously, the Conservatory was a bit of a free-for-all, with visitors entering and exiting as they please. Now, there is just one entrance with capacity limited to avoid overcrowding. Velvet ropes mark the way, allowing guests to move along from one flower bed to another in orderly fashion. The system lets everyone get plenty of unobstructed photos without overwhelming the personal space of others.
The Conservatory & Botanical Gardens are free to visit, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The new winter display is a welcome dose of holiday cheer during a challenging year in Las Vegas. The floral designs, crafted with skill and creativity, will impress visitors of all ages. The brick pathway that passes through the horse-drawn carriage, is an especially charming highlight that offers the best sightlines for soaking in the majesty of the holiday tree. Located off the casino floor near the hotel’s check-in counters, the Conservatory is easy to visit and just steps away from another free attraction on property, the Fountains at Bellagio. Visit both this season and save your dollars for some holiday shopping instead.